No Distance Can Keep Them Apart.
For most her life, Lady Talia Hall has been dreaming of the day James Forester will take her in his arms and kiss her with unrestrained passion. Tired of waiting, Talia decides to take drastic measures to make James see her as more than his best friend’s little sister. But her bold plan goes awry when the scoundrel informs her that he is leaving London—and her—for a life of adventure traveling the world. Crushed, Talia throws herself into her reform work and vows never again to let her foolish heart get the better of her.
But even halfway across the world, James can’t stop thinking of the beautiful Talia, her bold declaration . . . or her brazen kiss. And when James learns that Talia’s reform work has thrown her into the path of danger and scandal, nothing can keep him from returning to London. But a broken heart is not easily put back together, and old habits die hard. Talia and James must learn that trusting in true love is the greatest adventure of all…
Publisher and Release Date: Forever, May 2014.
Time and Setting: Victorian England.
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 5 stars
Review by Sebina
A Dream of Desire is the third book in Nina Rowan’s Daring Hearts series. It’s a story of two like-minded people who grew up together, and how, through friendship and a deep sensual love, they find their way to a satisfying HEA.
Lady Talia Hall has known James Forester, Baron Castleford, for most of her life, and they both have shared with each other many of their dreams and experiences. They live at a time when society rigidly insists on preventing women from doing the same things as men, so there’s a lot that they both don’t know or understand about the other person at the beginning of the book, because of this divide between the sexes. The story deals with James learning that Talia is his equal and that women should be considered men’s equals. It’s beautifully done.
Lord Castleford travels the world having adventures and surveying different territories, and through his letters, Talia can share his experiences. To her, it’s as though he has given her the whole world through his captivatingly well-written correspondence, and it is to her that he pours out his heart. If society allowed it, Talia would travel with James if she could, as she’s a woman who seeks adventures and experiences, too. But James is a man running from something. That something keeps him away from the bright and beautiful Talia. He’s very well-written, with a lot of depth to his character and a natural masculinity and sexiness that makes him a lovable and captivating hero. He’s also flawed, but that makes him all the more human and relatable.
One of the things that is so amazing about Talia as a heroine is that she is not only someone who follows her heart, but she’s also someone who genuinely understands her surroundings and what needs to be done to change a lot of the problems in society. She is resilient and courageous, with a great deal of backbone and doesn’t dwell on setbacks, but goes after the things that truly matter to her. She espouses her beliefs in a quiet, kind and realistic way, as she knows some of the obstacles she is up against.
Talia is devoted to her charity work, but she is treading on dangerous ground, in more ways than one, through her work for the reform of prison life for juvenile offenders and a home for wayward boys in Victorian England. Nina Rowan paints an accurate picture of this in a compelling way, giving the reader a good idea of what juvenile offenders suffered during this time in history.
In Talia, the author has created a thoroughly lovable and intelligent heroine. I liked how she is able to keep her efforts secret, knowing all too well that if people in society – and her family – know what she is doing they will put a stop to it, even though they do it out of genuine concern for her. Talia feels completely like a Victorian woman, and I came to care deeply for her as a character. Both Talia and James are written in such a way as to be interesting characters both on their own and together, while at the same time making the reader understand why they are so well suited to each other. All of these things combined helped me become completely caught up in their story.
The writing in A Dream of Desire is especially strong, and I found myself re-reading certain passages throughout. Ms Rowan has a way of expressing love and attraction between her lovers, in such a way that the smallest gesture or movement is felt by the reader. The sensual yearning is so strong that I couldn’t help but be drawn in and invested in their story. The first chapter, in particular, is an excellent example – Talia has the courage to tell James of her love for him and they share their first kiss. It’s such a strong beginning to an already beautifully written story; what the author does so masterfully is give the reader, with one kiss or touch, as much as some authors do with pages on pages of sex scenes. She writes the kind of love stories where you really do feel the sensual heat and tension, and it makes me want to read more of her work.
For me, this is a flawless book. It’s an historical romance with depth and a real sense of period, with a bit of a suspense plot thrown in. Personally, I love romances where the couple has known each other since childhood, and this is a very good example of that particular plotline. The letter writing was also one of the things that I loved – there’s one scene where Talia shows James where she keeps all his letters and mementos, and she reads extracts from his letters to him, to show him how much they have meant to her, which is one of my favourite scenes in the book.
Romance readers, I can’t recommend A Dream of Desire highly enough.